Summary

I’ve always had a deep passion for marketing and communications. That passion has served as my guiding star as I’ve navigated through each phase of my career.

Though I have many years of experience, I purposefully approach each project with a beginner’s mind. In other words, I don’t profess to have all the answers and I’m wary of those who think they do. James Thurber was right when he said, “It is better to know some of the questions than all of the answers.”

Granted, I understand marketing and communications from many perspectives. With a master’s degree in marketing, I’ve studied it extensively. I have also taught marketing at one of the region’s most respected universities. As a lifelong learner, I eagerly participate in the social media revolution, embracing the reality that the rules for communications success have been completely rewritten.

As much as I love marketing, I always regard it as a means to an end. Too many people think “raising awareness” is the end objective of communications. Not me. Too many people get bogged down in marketing tactics without tying their activities to higher strategies. Not me. Too many marketers obsess on measuring process rather than on creating impact. Not me. I believe marketing and communications should be used as tools to help an organization 1) create competitive advantage, 2) build sustained revenues and 3) fulfill its unique mission.

Through the years, I've led teams that have achieved great success and won impressive victories. Sometimes it’s tempting to look back on career achievements and to rest upon one’s laurels. I prefer, though, to focus on the present, knowing that everything in my past has prepared me to meet the great challenges I’ll face today. That makes today the best day of my life, at least so far. Yet I'm eager for tomorrow to arrive because I truly believe my best days are yet to come!

Work History

Work History
2006 - Present

Regional Director, Communications

American Red Cross

Although I inherited an unfocused “community relations” program, I preferred to lead business efforts having a more direct impact upon the organization’s success. So, I undertook an extensive reorganization by setting new priorities, focusing on the impact we needed to make and then realigning resources. In building a successful marketing and communications department, I saved $110,000 from the annual operating budget and actually accomplished more with fewer resources.

As the Red Cross encountered increased competition, I differentiated the organization from our competitors in the local community. My team and I then developed key messages upon which to anchor all of our communications. We prepared for disaster response by defining the public affairs responsibilities for every member of the team, ensuring that our disaster communications would be effective and well-coordinated. Then, when disasters did strike, we responded immediately and were able to 1) assure the community that the Red Cross was there, 2) inform people how to get and give help and 3) advise the relief operation on the effective delivery of services.

Embracing new technology, I led the chapter as we became an early adopter of social media tools. I made sure, though, that our focus was first on strategy, then on the tools and tactics. I understood the new reality that social networking had forever changed the way we communicate with each other.

1995 - 2006

Vice President, Marketing

United Way of Greater Kansas City

When I began working at United Way, I was given a board mandate to develop the organization's first marketing plan. Within the first three months, I achieved that, obtaining board approval of our marketing goals and action plan. I then annually updated the plan and led the team responsible for its implementation, directly contributing to the organization's success in exceeding fundraising goals in nine out of 10 years.

My creative team and I were responsible for marketing communications, strategic planning, market research, website development, special events, publications and media relations.

While at United Way, I learned the value of aligning resources through the development of a marketing plan that encapsulated our shared vision, a consensus on the right strategies and a focus on our top priorities.

2000 - 2004

Marketing Instructor (Adjunct)

Rockhurst University

Emphasizing service learning, I taught university classes on marketing for nonprofit organizations. During the 16-week semesters, I coached students as they applied marketing theory to real-world business situations.

Working together in teams, the students created actual marketing plans for a variety of organizations. The work groups led their "clients" through the process of setting marketing goals, differentiating the organization, aligning the elements of the marketing mix and finally creating a communications plan.

Students then presented the marketing plans to their “clients” for approval and implementation.

As a university instructor, I discovered for myself that the best way to learn something is to teach it to others. Although I have a master's degree in marketing, I actually learned most in those classrooms where I was the instructor standing in front of curious, creative students who asked insightful, probing questions.

1984 - 1995

Senior Vice President, Business Development

Shawnee Mission Medical Center

Managing a $15 million annual operating budget, I led the business development team responsible for marketing, communications, strategic planning, physician recruitment, and strategic partnerships. In that role, I served as president of hospital’s for-profit subsidiary corporation.

I also participated as an active member of the system’s national marketing committee which oversaw the development of key product lines.

Education

Education

Bachelor's Degree

Southern Adventist University

While earning my bachelor's degree in communications, I served as editor of the college’s student newspaper. I also worked as an elected officer in student government, and gained experience in the university's public relations office writing news releases, editing articles for publication, photographing events and producing promotional materials.

Master's Degree

Webster University

I had been working full time as a marketing professional for several years before I went back and earned my master's degree in marketing. I was honored to receive the Academic Excellence Award for outstanding achievement from the American Marketing Association of Kansas City.